Hawks face devastating loss in soccer
Women’s soccer fails to advance to nationals after two final four losses
The Wilfrid Laurier University women’s soccer team may have lost the battle for a berth into nationals, but they did not go down without a fight.
The Hawks were eliminated from the Ontario University Athletics final four by the University of Ontario Institute of Technology Ridgebacks with a score of 2-0 on Sunday, ending their playoff run. On Saturday, Laurier had their first opportunity to advance to nationals with a win against the top seeded Ottawa Gee-Gee’s, but lost in overtime with a score of 1-0.
There were high expectations for the squad entering the weekend. They ended the regular season with a dominant record of 12-1-3, which was good for second in Ontario.
This will be the first time since 2009 that the Hawks have come away from the OUA final four without a medal.
“I have no idea what to say to them right now,” head coach Barry MacLean said, moments after the bronze medal game. “Most of them have spilled all of their guts on the field.”
In what was seen to be a physical match from the get-go, the Hawks put everything they had to try and secure their national berth. It was in the tenth minute when things started to go awry.
While running up the wing, fifth-year midfielder Julie Maheu took a hard hit while chasing the ball and was down for a few minutes before struggling to get up. She continued playing but was substituted out after a few minutes when she continued to struggle. She did not return to the game.
First-year midfielder Julie Karn, second-year Jessica Craig and fifth-year defender Kelsey Tikka would also take a knock and be helped off the field.
They all were substituted back onto the field later in the game after quick repairs from the sidelines.
After a scoreless first half the Ridgebacks were on the board first, after an uncharacteristic mistake sent second-year Cassandra Sribny in all alone on fourth-year Maggie Carmichael, and although Carmichael was able to get a piece of the ball, it bounced past her and into the net.
The Ridgebacks added an extra tally in the dying minutes of the game, ending the Hawks chances of a comeback to send the game into overtime.
For Tikka and Maheu, this was their last year playing with the team, as they entered their final year of eligibility this last season.
Despite an early exit from the OUA semifinals and a near-miss chance to go to nationals, MacLean was optimistic about the depth the Hawks showed this season.
“Our core is great. We have players on the bench that didn’t play that are exceptional players and they are going to grow into a situation where they are going to be an impact players in the league,” he said.
Specifically, he will be looking to continue to build an already strong club around star player Emily Brown and Maggie Carmichael this offseason
“We’ve got strong defense, there’s a good chance Maggie Carmichael will come back in goal. That will be huge thing,” he said. “On the defensive end, we got a lot of quality, and midfield, we won’t drop off. Up front, we’ll see what happens with Emily Brown but we have five or six other options in the front of the pitch, so, I’m excited about the future.”